I’ve always sung since I was a child. I performed in dancing school shows from age 5, and if there was a tap dance or a popular musical number involved, we young impressionable children sang the song too. Then there was singing at primary school, where I remember belting out traditional folk songs along with the quieter, melodic My Love’s an Arbutus, learning at the same time that an arbutus is a tree.
Intertwined with singing at school, the dancing and peforming in shows continued and I graduated to having a solo spot in a show, singing It’s a Lovely Day Today and dancing a routine to the tune. At secondary school I belonged to the choir and performed at open day events, most memorably singing a selection from Oklahoma! I can still remember the words to those songs. I grew up in a family who loved music. My parents, my aunts and uncles, all had a piano and family get togethers always involved singing, when various relatives would provide entertainment by singing a few party pieces. My dad played the piano by ear and was self-taught. He was pretty good too. My mum read music to play the piano, but she also sang, so there was no getting away from it! I was in a music-rich environment and the words of numerous songs are firmly imprinted on my memory banks.
Fast forward to adulthood when I joined a local choral society and experienced the challege of singing Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. These stand out as memorable favourites. I also joined a chorale group who travelled to various churches in Cheshire to sing at evensong. I don’t go to church but I do love the music and enjoyed the opportunity to sing it. With the chorale I went to Prague where we gave a concert in one of the churches in the main square.
With all that singing experience under my belt, I became more confident using my voice…..or so I thought. Five years ago I joined my local Rock Choir and haven’t looked back since. With Rock Choir I’ve sung for local charities, at a rugby match in Wembley Stadium, by the roadside for the Manchester Marathon, in the Bridgewater Hall, and recorded 3 songs in the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London. Last summer I sang in a fantastic Rock Choir concert in Chester Cathedral, where the acoustics were amazing.
But just as importantly I enjoy singing in a local gigs, in care homes for people with dementia, at an event taking place in the town where I live, or at a local charity do. Singing brings joy and puts smiles on faces; it brings me joy too.
Years ago I might have imagined I’d already found my voice, but in truth I’d not. I held back. I didn’t have the confidence to use the power of my voice or the knowledge of how to do this safely, without straining it. But with the expert, professional guidance of my Rock Choir leader, I’ve gained so much more confidence, know-how and experience. I really have found my voice – and I love it!